Nuclear Security Expert Hall Named Third UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair

Howard Hall, a nuclear chemist and expert in preventing and responding to nuclear terrorism, has been named as the third University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair.

Hall, currently the radiological detection and response program leader at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), will hold appointments in the UT Knoxville nuclear engineering department and the global nuclear security division at ORNL.

“The addition of Howard Hall — a global expert in a vitally important field — brings exciting momentum to our Governor’s Chair program as he joins scientists Alexei Sokolov in polymer science and Jeremy Smith in computational biology,” said acting UT President Jan Simek.

The Governor’s Chair program, funded by the state of Tennessee and ORNL, is designed to attract top scientists to take part in the unique research partnership that exists between the state’s flagship university and the nation’s largest multi-program laboratory.

“I am very pleased to see another top scientist named a UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair,” said Governor Phil Bredesen. “This appointment further reinforces the strength of this program and furthers Tennessee’s position as a leader in the area of nuclear security.”

Hall’s appointment is the second in the past month.

“Bringing top scientists to campus as Governor’s Chairs helps position our university to meet the needs of the state and the nation,” said UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “Dr. Hall’s unique area of expertise will enhance the partnership between UT Knoxville and ORNL substantially by growing the ties between one of our top programs and the laboratory.”

In his role as Governor’s Chair, Hall plans to make full use of the unique resources in research and development of new technologies available between the two institutions.

“I’m extraordinarily excited by this opportunity,” said Hall. “UT’s academic reputation and resources and the access to unique experimental facilities at ORNL create an environment ripe for significant contributions to the global challenges facing us in nuclear security, as well as in the search for non-carbon- based energy. East Tennessee is poised to become the world’s scientific and engineering leader in this area, and I’m thrilled to be part of that.”

His work centers on topics ranging from ways to detect the presence of illicit radioactive material and remove it from circulation to understanding better methods of responding to and recovering from nuclear incidents.

“Dr. Hall’s scientific expertise is a tremendous asset in the nation’s fight against terrorism and proliferation of nuclear materials,” said ORNL Director Thom Mason. “His Governor’s Chair appointment greatly strengthens the UT-ORNL research partnership in the area of nuclear security.”

Hall has spent his entire career at LLNL, where he has served in a variety of roles since 1989, beginning with a post-doctoral fellowship. In his time there, he has worked on a number of projects in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate. He also served as the laboratory’s division leader for radiological and nuclear countermeasures and the program leader for nuclear assessments and forensics.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the College of Charleston and a doctorate in nuclear chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley.

About the Governor’s Chair program:

The UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair program is designed to attract exceptionally accomplished researchers from around the world to boost joint research efforts that position the partnership as a leader in the fields of biological science, computational science, advanced materials and neutron science.

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